On Friday, March 27, the White House and Congress approved the largest emergency aid package in US history, providing an obligatory jolt to our nation’s deteriorating economy. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) puts money in the pockets of Americans who need it most in these tumultuous times.
Here are several key provisions that are especially advantageous to workers:
Payment to Families
Perhaps the most talked-about deliverable from the Act is the $250 billion set aside for payment to families. In sum, the IRS will send a one-time $1,200 rebate to individuals making up to $75,000 (based on adjusted gross income), or a $2,400 rebate for joint filers making up to $150,000. These payments will be reduced by 5 percent of the amount made in excess of $75,000 or $150,000, and there will be no payments for individuals making more than $99,000 and joint filers making more than $198,000. Additionally, parents would receive $500 for each child younger than 17. According to the Tax Policy Center, 90 percent of Americans would be entitled to full or partial payments under the plan.
The IRS should be distributing these rebate checks by mid-April, and you should talk to your tax advisor regarding how these payments apply.
The Act also sets aside an additional $250 billion for expanded unemployment benefits. Specifically, unemployed workers are eligible to receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits and receive a four-month enhancement of benefits for an additional $600 per week on top of what they receive from state benefits. Additionally, the Federal Government will pay unemployed workers for the first week individuals usually must wait for unemployment payments. These benefits are not only limited to employees though, as freelancers, furloughed employees, gig workers, independent contractors, and self-employed workers are also entitled to these benefits.
Healthcare employees will be getting the help they’ve deserved for weeks, with $100 billion directed to hospitals and health care systems across the nations. Much of this funding will be used for personal and protective equipment for our invaluable health care workers.
Homeowners and Renters
Indeed, a $1,200 rebate is only a drop in the bucket for folks who must pay a mortgage or rent – which is especially steep in California. Fortunately, the bill protects individuals from foreclosures and evictions due to financial issues. Specifically, the plan allows anyone facing financial hardship from coronavirus to receive forbearance on federally backed mortgage loans for up to 60 days, with 30-day extension options. Additionally, landlords with federally backed mortgage loans could not evict tenants solely for failure to pay rent for a 120-day period.
Do You Need Legal Help?
Reach out to the attorneys of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP if you’re an employee who needs help. Our firm helps workers like you hold employers accountable for mistreatment and violations of employment law.
Contact us online or call (619) 342-8000 to get a free initial consultation that we reserve for prospective clients.